U. of Florida Professor Is Accused of Defrauding NASA

February 27, 2009

Samim Anghaie, the radiological-engineering professor at the University of Florida whose office was raided by FBI agents on Wednesday, is being accused of defrauding the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and channeling millions of federal dollars into private bank accounts.

Federal authorities say Mr. Anghaie and his wife, Sousan, set up a dummy corporation called New Era Technology, or Netech. Starting in 1999, the company obtained a series of research contracts from NASA, billed the agency for nonexistent work, and deposited the fees into bank accounts in their names and the names of their sons, according to the Associated Press. Portions of the funds were reportedly used to buy cars and real estate.

The University of Florida, which according to the Gainesville Sun pays Mr. Anghaie about $111,400 a year for his work as director of the university’s Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute, has put him on paid leave.

Mr. Anghaie, who fled to the United States from Iran in 1978, has directed the institute for nearly 25 years, and has served as an adviser to a number of government agencies, including NASA. —Steve Kolowich